hey bubbles! thanks for your thoughtful insights. yes, we are all special (yet not special--that is, separate from each other). i do love the idea of the "spiritual friend" relationship instead of teacher/student dichotomy, which seems destined for abuse of power. anyway, the student often becomes the teacher of the teacher, no?
I've also been self-studying Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva, and the first chapter entitled "The Excellence of Bodhichitta" contemplates how each of us are bodhisattvas (most of us in training) and that we each are amazing because of the impulse of bodhichitta in us:
"But those who fill with bliss
All beings destitute of joy,
Who cut all pain and suffering away
From those weighed down with misery,
Who drive away the darkness of their ignorance--
What virtue could be matched with theirs?
What friend could be compared to them?
What merit is there similar to this?"
Sounds pretty lofty, no? But Shantideva says that once we have one thought of generosity to another or others--a sincere wish to end the suffering of others--in that moment we grasp bodhichitta and become an amazing bodhisattva in training:
"For when, with irreversible intent,
the mind embraces bodhichitta,
Willing to set free the endless multitudes of beings,
In that instant, from that moment on,
A great and unremitting stream,
A strength of wholesome merit,
Even during sleep and inattention,
Rises equal to the vastness of the sky."
You all are amazing bodhisattvas, which is nothing special (or separate) because that amazing light lives in each of you.
Namaste from the Midwest,
"I wasn't going to spend my life doing what had already been done." - Georgia O'Keeffe